The Cosmic Serpent

The Cosmic Serpent

4.0 14
by Jeremy Narby
     
 

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A personal adventure, a fascinating study of anthropology and ethnopharmacology, and, most important, a revolutionary look at how intelligence and consciousness come into being.

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored…  See more details below

Overview

A personal adventure, a fascinating study of anthropology and ethnopharmacology, and, most important, a revolutionary look at how intelligence and consciousness come into being.

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge.

In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.

"The Cosmic Serpent is a spellbinding, scholarly tour de force that may presage a major paradigm shift in the Western view of reality." --Michael Harner, Ph.D., president, Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and author of The Way of the Shaman

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anthropologist Narby's very personal account of his encounters with Amazonian shamanism and his passionately researched syntheses of anthropological, biochemical, neurological and mythological scholarship fascinate but do not convince. His defense of the rights of indigenous peoples against usurpation by capitalist, technological countries is admirable; his methodology is not. Throughout, Narby appears to mistake enthusiasm for evidence and he takes similarities of form (e.g., any helical pattern, hexagon or snakelike figure) to be proof of identity or of casual connection: that the serpent of shamanic lore is DNA. Of his assertion that the Amazonians' specific knowledge of pharmacology derives from hallucinogenic trance (and not from some other more diffuse source), he undertakes no experimental test, offering the typical complaints that the "presuppositions" of science are too narrow to permit the test. Narby does well to question the assumptions of scientists who dismiss all teleology in favor of mechanistic interpretations that are often deeply inadequate, and he does well to inquire into the meaning of the vast commonality of forms between science and world mythologies, but his answers too often come off as groundless invention. He provides an intriguing detective story, wondrous visions and a wealth of fascinating information on genetic science, shamanism, etc., and he also offers some valuable thoughts on the parochial smallness of official science, but, overall, his book's greatest value, perhaps, is as a case study in the excesses of scholarship gone astray. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101494356
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/05/1999
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
446,768
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jeremy Narby, Ph.D. is the author of The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. He lives in Switzerland.

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The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for anyone interested in DNA, the I CHING, psychedelics and shamanism. It's a good companion to any of Terence Mckenna's work and is an interesting and easy read, by this I mean it doesnt contain alot of technical and esoteric jargon that may be lost on the uninitiated. I think it's a good introductory read on the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some may dismiss this book because it does not provide strict scientific evidence, but it never claims to. Narby tells us of his own experiences with things most of us never even imagine. Whether you ultimately agree with his premise or not, it should open your mind to some amazing possibilities. Once I got into it, I was mesmerized by his journey.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthropologist Narby reveals his encounters with the critical flaws in explorations of the world based on purely scientific reason. In so doing, he uncovers new and powerful 'realities' in the science of stone-age Shaman that are relavent to integrating science and mysticism in the post-modern world. Objective and self aware, he speaks simultaneously from the head and the heart of our origins and place in nature and the cosmos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though its ideas are no longer new to western academia, the book remains the most serious and informative overview for the beginning student of ayahuasca practice. The flaws of scientific paradigms applied to studies are admitted and beneficially examined to bring the potential wisdom of the shamans into serious consideration. Though i knew of this trend of thought since 1994, much in this presentation remains revelatory upon my first careful reading of this book in 2012.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It has a few passages which might make you think, but they are more general points about the complexity of the universe and not related to the book's central hypothesis. I also liked the narrative early on, but overall this book was really disappointing. His reasoning is unbelievably convoluted and his evidence is transparent even to the most meager intellect. This book might appeal a person who spends most of their income on magic crystals and dream catchers.